Thursday, December 25, 2008

From our family to yours -- MERRY CHRISTMAS!

A few pictures from our year
Easter photokids on the beach on Lake MI

homeschool family Camp

a Christmas wreath of smiling faces!
We are praying you are enjoying time with family, celebrating the BEST gift ever --
Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and
Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Who doesn't want a white Christmas? God blessed us with clear roads for our travels. We arrived just after a winter storm layed a blanket of over 1 foot of snow and before another foot is dumped, we're under a winter storm warning today!!! Even some blizzard warnings near here! We made it in the clear 24 hours window between the two storms to drive up - THANK THE LORD!
at Grandpa and Grandpas house look at that snow pile!!!! The kids have enjoyed lots of snow play -- with wind chills below 0 they don't last out for too long but we are definitely getting our fill of snow!
Yes that is MOM on the sled!!! She enjoyed a few toboggan rides down the hill with us too!

Uncle James was having just as much fun "playing" on the 4 wheeler -- or working as he called it! moving lots of snow to make a huge snow pile. All the kids enjoyed rides

How do you dig out of that much snow? No wonder he had snow down his pants!!!!

our little snow angel :)
We'll enjoy some snow for all our southern friends!
Love the frozen flock

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Need a last minute gift for the hard to buy for person?

(picture of our advent candles just for you Becky!)

Well, as I sit here -- procrastinating packing - (those who know me well will just smile at that!) and thinking of all the gifts we need to get yet... I have rationalized that it will take less van space if we just do all our shopping in Mi :) I thought how most of the family and friends we exchange gifts with really don't need anything.

So why not give something to someone who really needs something in honor of those loved ones? and you can do that right up to Christmas!!! I am sure there are tons of good causes and with the dreary financial state as of late, for many organizations donations are way down. Just to put a plug in for a few good organizations :) there are many larger ones -- Focus on the family, Family Life, Samaritans Purse, Habitat for Humanity etc plus many local organizations like food pantries, Pregnancy Resource centers, and more these are smaller less well know ones --

Bible translation with God's Word for the Nations

Winning at home - helping marriage WIN

CBH Ministries (Children's Bible Hour) - evangelizing to children all over through various media

Camp David a Christian camp for children of prisoners

Send a Christmas check to a missionary is another idea! Bless a family who is out of work with some gift cards to the local grocery store. Sponsor a child maybe through compassion or maybe for an adoption!
Ok there is my little gift suggestions :)
***family and friends when you open you gift you can still act surprised!!!

We are so thankful for all we have and as I look around at all our "stuff," I think cleaning, packing, all of it would be so much easier if we had less.

If you want the perfect gift this Christmas you only need to look up:
James1:16"Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."

Jesus is the BEST gift and its not just the little baby but the gift of Easter and his sacrifice for each of us that makes that little baby so incredibly special!!!
Praying you draw close to him this Christmas!
Amy Q

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Prepare your heart...

Don't know about you but we are getting VERY excited for Christmas! Seeing family and friends, great food and lots of treats, time off work, time to be together and celebrate the reason for the season. Many years, I am sad to admit, I got lost in it all -- the preparations, the decorations, making enough cookies for all the cookie exchanges, making sure I have gifts for EVERYONE and my personal weakness -- cute coordinated kids :)

Well, this year for various reasons I seem to have much better perspective. My house is hardly decorated, we didn't make ANY cookies -- someone blessed us with already made cookie dough we just had to bake them and added a few red and green M&Ms to look festive! As for gifts, the gift of being together this year means the world to me and its OK to not have something wrapped -- sorry Sunday school teachers!

As for the coordinating thing... well I am still working on that! We were trying to get a Christmas picture and all I said was "how about red and green" -- the kids came up with the every other thing!!! I guess after enough years of "practice" its ingrained!!! Last year I may have said "the greens aren't the same hue... I am just thankful they are happy healthy and smiling and together!!!
Well this isn't the final so I guess you can have a preview :)
This is the extent of my wrapping so far this year -- no I am NOT giving her away :) The girls are in our church play Sunday -- you'll have to come see if you want to know more!

We enjoyed a live nativity this year -- it was cold but so neat to see live animals and actors and try to picture the reality of our Lord coming here, to earth as a helpless little child. God's greatest gift not wrapped in expensive paper or even topped with a fancy bow --just some swaddling cloth and laying in a manger.

As you prepare for Christmas remember that all the stuff isn't important --
make your heart ready for the best gift ever!
Praying God is REAL to you this season!
Amy Q

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Humblely Grateful...

do you remember that song?
God has given us so much to be thankful for this year!
We had hoped to get a nice thanksgiving post out but ended up doing a surpirse trip home for the holiday!!! Now that we are all laying around "recovering" thought I would share!
So much fun to see family and shock them by just showing up :) Everyone did great even with the long car ride! So many helpers made it almost easy to travel with a baby again :)

So fun to see many of the cousins, tried to pose all of the K cousins -- well it will only get more exciting with 2 more on the way! The kids enjoyed helping Gr K get Christmas decorations out (since that may not get done here-- good thing they got to help her!)

And so great to see the Q fam too. We enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with Steve's sisters and much of their families -- as they get older its harder and harder to all get together!
Missed Gr and Gr Q but due to sickness, they decided it was best not to join everyone for the meal. We were able to visit with them everyday while we were up which was a huge blessing for us.

Pile o' boys waiting for yummy Thanksgiving dinner!

And DAD got to carve the turkey!!! He was less than thrilled, but we kept encouraging him and big sisters helped too. Next year I am pretty sure he will make sure Gr Q is there :) or he will come up with some excuess not to be the carver. It tasted delicious (and no one really noticed how it was cut :))

A time to gather together with family and friends
to celebrate the many blessings God has poured on us.
To say Thanks to God for each other and
for all the "stuff" we take so for granted most days!
To be grateful that God has chosen US to live today --
may we be willing to be his servants TODAY!

Its MY TURN...

for the bathroom...we had a first in our house last night, all 7 of us had the FLU! YUCK!
NO fun -- but on the bright side at least its just one "sick" day! and thankfully we have 4 bathrooms! I don't remember the last time we have watched so many movies :) The kids are enjoying that part!

We all slept in the family room -- a big sleepover -- just wasn't quiet as fun!

the friend!

Gabe recovered quickly and was our "snack man".
Thankfully dad had run to the store to get us supplies!!!
You know they are feeling better when they want turns on the computer!

Praying you are all staying healthy!
Love the recovering Quak fam

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sometimes its hard to understand why

WHYdo paper cuts hurt so much?

WHY is it so hard to change the sheets on bunk beds?

WHY does the dryer take longer than the washer?

WHY do we have to eat with silverware? (ok that was for my oldest!)

WHY does hair tangle? (ok that was for the girls!)

WHY is there cancer? WHY can't doctors make everyone better?

WHY doesn't every mommy know how to love and care for her child?

I could go on and on!!!

some of the WHYS are ones we say just because and life goes on. But as we are walking through each day, more and more in awe of what a gift today is, I ponder how huge the whole picture of life is. This life of which we only see this little glimpse.

There are so many thoughts in my head, so many ponderings. Knowing that our God is loving and good so the infamous question -- "why do bad things happen if there is a loving God?" I do know that God uses all things for his glory. He loves us and desires to grow us closer to him through each struggle. As we've studied James "considering it joy... when we face trials ....and growing to be mature and complete" All of that is easy to memorize HARD to live! There are so many scriptures that float in and out of my mind --I am SO thankful that God is surrounding me with his words!

As we morn the end of Lisa's life on earth we have hope and are able to rejoice in her complete healing and celebration with her heavenly father in her new home. I know Lisa desired to be a wife, mother, friend for much longer than she was able yet God's plan is different and perfect.

This new friend of mine, who I had only just begun to get to know, has challenged me to live every day full of love and peace -- none of us know how many days we have. Lisa was an incredibly fun loving person who enjoyed her family, laughing, reading books, and playing together. I am honored to team up with this family in schooling together. We will miss Lisa's fun spelling tests, and reading our French history, as well as her jokes at lunch time!


I am sharing some of our fun memories with Lisa from some of our field trips:

Lisa planned a scavenger hunt at the zoo, here she is trying to get some of the kids excited about it --they weren't so sure it would be fun (Mal, Eva and Alex)

On a trip to the Bray conservation center Lisa gives Luke a hand as they explore the pond and its amphibians.

The St Louis Zoo was a fun day where Julia is king of the apes while Lisa looks on.

A family photo: Brad and Lisa with Alex(11), Renee(16), Julia(8) and Luke(13) (Robbie 18 was not with us)

"Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self..." --Mere Christianity by C S Lewis

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

always room for one more...

That is the title of a children's book we have about a family who always makes room for guests, amidst their big family. That is our heart too! God has nudged us to say YES to opening our home to children in need for a time. As we help care for these precious children of God's, we are honored that He is allowing us to be a small part of the bigger picture! One child at a time.
he loves a crowd and the kids love dishing out attention!
When we celebrated our colonial gathering he was just part of the family.
all the kids love LOVING him!
Its a blessing to see them happy to share our family with a little one.

going for a ride - sharing the stroller and playing peek a boo

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hello Young Man

As we celebrated another birthday here on quak flock farm :) thought you would enjoy seeing some of the celebration!

We surprised him with a bunch of friends arriving after his book study group! So what do a bunch of boys do?

Play in the woods of course! They had brought their homemade weapons and had a good long war (thankfully no fatalities!!!)

Of course cake and ice cream were a hit too.

Wow to see how fast these blessing grow seems almost impossible!

Robin hood - (homemade weapons of course)

Big brother

and of course chicken lover -- not eating but caring for!
from the little chicks

to full grown mamas!

We are so thankful God has blessed us with this special son who is growing into a wonderful young man!!!

the honored quak flock mama

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What's Your Family Mission?

We had a wonderful weekend with MFW families from all over the US a few weekends ago. We enjoyed the company of some old MI friends as well-what a blessing! Late nights, chocolate and heart to heart talks -- plus sharing some inspiring sessions together, it was all a big blessing. We enjoyed taking in some of God's beautiful nature which was wonderful too!

One of the things we were challenged to ponder; what is our family mission?....wondered if any of you have a family mission? We desire to love God, serve others and enjoy the life God has given us training our children to do the same. (at least that is where we are starting!!!)

It has been good to ponder; not just what do we hope for our children, but for our grandchildren? and even generations to come? God can do a lot more through my children's children than with just measly old ME! After all I am only one person :)

Sometimes we get too hung up on just the here and now. God's perspective is WAY bigger than ours and maybe he wants us to take a bigger view too.

Message version:
Duet 6:1-2 This is the commandment, the rules and regulations, that God, your God, commanded me to teach you to live out in the land you're about to cross into to possess. This is so that you'll live in deep reverence before God lifelong, observing all his rules and regulations that I'm commanding you, you and your children and your grandchildren, living good long lives. ....
5 Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got! 6-9 Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (my emphesis)

So as we travel life's path -- striving to stay on the straight and narrow -- may we continue to look to the one who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine!
Its impossible to see the end and can be overwhelming to look back and see where we have been!
When we slip on a rock.... when the leaves seem to cover the way.......when there is wonder and beauty all around us but we are so worried about making the right "next step" we don't bother to look UP .........................
remember the one who is UP and focus on HIM!!!

We serve an awesome God who is bigger than our family, bigger than our country, our universe and who has been here in every yesterday and will continue into every tomorrow.

In your family may God be real today, seek Him and you will find!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

EGG games

A fun game at Old Iron Days -- the EGG toss! I think Uncle D wanted to see the Egg drop - we didn't want to "waste" our good fresh eggs :) but at the park it was fine!
So Zeko and a friend Ian joined in the game...

Good throw and good catch!

They had at least 3 passes before

SMACK it hit Zeko

and that was the end of that!

So D this is a shot of his smashed egg - just for you!

Another fun egg game - the spoon relay; Zeko was VERY serious about getting it across with out dropping it! He made it!
Hopefully they don't start any of these games in our backyard!
Running tally of eggs collected so far ---- 51!

Fall, Fun and Friends

OLD IRON DAYS: We enjoyed a wonderful day at a nearby park with our friends the Q-2's. We did a picnic lunch after church and then enjoyed God's beautiful creation! The view there is amazing!

We saw lots of friends there, here Eva and Maggie with Maggie-2. She was dressed for the festivities celebrating the early 1800's era. There were lots of fun games to play from that era as well as many vendors showing activities from that time. We saw woodworking, weaving, basket making, rag doll, corn husk doll, shoe makers, needlepoint, bonnet makers, weapons and lots more! It was great fun!

Here Eva and Malachi work hard together to saw off a piece of wood! They decided they are glad that is not one of their chores :)

They also did egg races, tried walking on stilts, pole climbing and digging in the straw for candy!
It was a gorgeous day to spend together! Here is a family shot say CHEESE!

Almost time to go-- here they are sitting watching the fish (there is a fish hatchery there too)

A great day to step back in time and enjoy how life used to be. And soak up God's amazing beauty of nature!!!

Blessings on your week

The Quak Flock